The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association hosted its annual ‘Interfaith Symposium and Iftar Dinner’ to commemorate the Spirit of Sharing in the Holy month of Ramadan at their mosque, Bait-ul-Huda (The House of Guidance), in Marsden Park, Sydney on Saturday 4th of July 2015.
The Interfaith symposium was attended by over 600 guests that included federal and state MPs, mayors, councillors, local government officials, interfaith leaders and community friends
The Interfaith symposium was attended by over 600 guests which included federal and state MPs, mayors, councillors, local government officials, interfaith leaders, New South Wales police officials, academics, university students, and members of the local community.
Cr. Stephen Bali mayor City of Blacktown was the guest of honour for the Iftar Dinner symposium
The proceedings started with recitation from the Holy Quran and its translation in English. This was followed by the acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land. Theme of this year’s symposium was ‘Fasting in my Religion’. A number of eminent religious scholars of Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity spoke on the occasion and shared the history and practice of fasting as prescribed by their respective religions.
Mr Aqeel Ahmed, an electrical engineer by profession and an active volunteer from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, explained the day to day of 1.6 billion Muslims around the world during the fasting month of Ramadan. He explained in detail how special emphasis is placed on prayers, giving alms, sharing food and serving humanity during the month of Ramadan.
Father Gerard O’Dempsey of Catholic tradition said,
“To fast generally means to significantly reduce the consumption of food but more broadly speaking I often suggest to my congregation that fasting should be extended not just to our food intake but to other great distractions in life, for example, the internet. To fast from using the internet for a whole day is [often time an] even greater sacrifice than going without a meal or two.” Fasting, prayer and alms giving are regarded as three pillars of the season of lent in our Christian faith.”
A number of guest speakers spoke very highly of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s continuous involvement in the community services, interfaith dialogue and initiatives such as blood donation, ‘Clean-up Australia Day’ and ‘Red-Cross Door knock’ appeals. Those who spoke on the occasion included mayor of Blacktown Cr Stephen Bali, Cr Jacqueline Donaldson, Hon. David Clare MP, Hon. John Robertson MP, Hon. Prue Car MP, Senator Sam Dastyari, Hon. Edmond Atalla MP and a representative of Hon Michelle Rowland MP.
Cr. Stephen Bali mayor City of Blacktown said,
“I thank Ahmadiyya Muslim Association for bringing this wonderful event together and the efforts put together by the young volunteers. I hope we continue these great traditions and I repeat what Imam just said that as a true Muslim your tongue and hands and any part of your body can not harm anyone is a great saying. Thank you very much for having us here today and well done to Imam Kauser for putting this all together.”
Hon. David Clare MLC said it was his great honour to represent Hon. Mike Baird, the Premier of New South Wales and Hon. John Ajaka MLC and Minister for Multiculturalism, Government of NSW.
Hon. David Clare read out the special message from the Premier of NSW:
“I’m delighted to send my best wished to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia on the occasion of its interfaith fasting symposium. On behalf of the New South Wales government I commend the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia for actively supporting our principles of freedom and opportunity and for promoting this wonderful initiative.”
Hon. David Clare MLC said:
“I pay my respect to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, the thousands and thousands of hard working, law abiding, peace loving, God fearing, men and women, young and old, who make up the community throughout Australia. When I’m with the Ahmadiyya, I know I’m with good people. A community who loves Australia that’s why they celebrate Australia Day in the mosque just few meters away each and every year. A community loyal to Australia that’s why they have the Australian flag flying out there every day of the year and whose leader speak out again and again and again against terrorism and to those who persecute the religion. It’s a community that supports democracy in Australia. It’s a community that believes in service to Australia that’s why when there’s a blood bank donation drive or a clean-up Australia Day you always see the Ahmadiyyan Muslim community there in rows at the beginning of the Que. The message of the community is a pathway to peace and a pathway to God. Tonight an example of that is here.”
In his concluding speech the national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Imam Kauser said:
“Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been taking part in interfaith events since 1896 and we always invite our neighbours and community friends to our events and today under this roof, as you may see around you, we have people of different faiths, different backgrounds and different origins sharing food, sharing thoughts and sharing smiles and this is the real spirit of what we call ‘sharing is caring’. The tradition of fasting is part of each and every religion. There may be different ways of practicing this tradition but this is the common ground that can truly unite various faiths once again and this is the teaching of the Holy Quran that calls the people of all faiths to common grounds and this is the real objective of this interfaith symposium. I hope and pray that our small efforts bring great fruits and may we gather all humanity on the platform of love, peace, harmony, respect and cooperation.”
The Symposium concluded with silent prayer led by Imam Kauser for world peace and prosperity of our great country Australia. The guests were served a delightful dinner.
Press and Media Desk, Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, NSW, Australia
Baitul Huda mosque, 45 Hollinsworth Road, Marsden Park NSW 2765, T: 02 9627 4521, M: 0435 180 498